Senator wants examination of credit card interest rates
A Liberal Senator from New Brunswick says she will ask the Senate standing committee on banking to investigate credit card interest rates and other fees being charged by banks.
Pierrette Ringuette says Canadians across the country are fed up with high interest rates and bank fees and it's time the government did something about it.
For example, Connie Conrad of Moose Jaw, Sask., recently received a letter from TD Canada Trust advising her that while her credit rating was good, should her credit card account fall into arrears the bank could decide to raise the interest rate it charges on her card by five per cent.
"I was really shocked," Conrad told CBC News, adding she's never been in arrears on her credit card, which she's had for nearly 30 years.
"I really question is it morally and ethically right for them to do that? Particularly in light of the economic climate we are experiencing right now," she said.
Ringuette, who sits on the Senate's standing committee on banking, trade and commerce, said her office has been inundated with calls, letters and emails from Canadians complaining about rising interest rates and fees on credit cards.
"There is a dire need for the Senate committee to look into this issue," she said.
The federal government has already offered banks help to ease them through the credit crunch.
With the key overnight lending rate at historic lows, Ringuette wants to know why consumers are being threatened with higher fees and interest rates.
Ringuette said she'll be asking the Senate banking committee to consider placing limits on what banks can charge, similar to caps currently under consideration in the United States.
"I'm sorry, but if that's the way they want to play the game, maybe it's time that we enforce stricter regulation," she said.
CBC News was unable to speak to anyone from the Canadian Bankers Association. A request for an interview was declined.